The coronavirus pandemic forced firms to adapt their business models quickly, but now these plans could be used in the longer term.
Back office tech provider Intelliflo surveyed 237 professionals from financial services and found 53% of adviser firm employees are set to work remotely in the future.
Some 59% have not yet returned to the office in any capacity, and by the end of the year, 25% will still not have stepped back into the office.
This comes after advisers and support staff transformed their ability to work remotely over the last six months, with 84% saying that they are now fully optimised to work from home compared to 47% prior to the pandemic.
Many firms are now re-evaluating their budget on an office space, as three-quarters (76%) would rather see their company allocate budget elsewhere, while 42% said they would rather see more spent on technology than an office space.
Also, a third (34%) said they would rather keep more cash reserves, and 20% want more allocated towards employee wellbeing.
More than one-in-10 (13%) expect to either downsize or remove their office space entirely.
When asked about how remote working will benefit advisers, more client time was a clear theme.
By not commuting, respondents have been saving an average of 60 minutes per day, time that more than half (52%) of advisers spend with clients instead.
In addition, more than a third (38%) believe they will benefit from being able to target more clients nationwide.
When asked about broader industry changes brought on by remote working, 43% of respondents expect that this will increase diversity in the industry.
More than a third (36%) of advisers agreed that they would consider permanently adjusting their service proposition, such as providing a virtual advice service, to suit the increasingly online world.
Some expect that the cost savings from operating remotely will put a downward pressure on fees, and a number of respondents commented that this is a cost-effective way to service more low income clients.
Nick Eatock, chief executive of Intelliflo, said: “It’s important that advisers have the flexibility to choose a way of working that benefits them and their clients, and technology is a crucial enabler of this.
“It’s encouraging to see from our data that the adoption of technology is up from both advisers and their clients, with almost four times as many clients logging into their portal now compared with earlier this year.
“We’re expecting this to mark a permanent shift in the way that advisers operate in the future. Advisers can now reap the benefits of working remotely, helping them to become more agile and efficient without comprising on the value they deliver to their clients.”